Negating Collective Amnesia by Fixing Whiteness: Tacit Memorization and (un)seamless flashback of the Czech Memorials to Porrajmos

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SHMIDT Victoria

Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description Targeted to practicing collective memory about the Romani genocide during the WWII, the Czech monuments in Hodonin at Kunshtat, Mirovici, the memorial in Lety, the exhibition in the Museum of Romani culture, Brno, provide particular range of messages to non-Roma audience as those who neglect the duty to remember. Emphasizing the symbols of the Romani sedentarization and adopting the clichés of empathetic history of Holocaust, these memorials miss the potentials of historicizing Porrajmos as the grounds for ensuring epistemic justice to the Romani people. The recent notorious stories about disrespectful attitude to these memorials from the side of local authorities whose behavior was publically compared with the socialist policy of collective amnesia have deepened the pattern of historicizing the Romani people as those who were the victims of two authoritative regimes, fascism and socialism. In line with Bhaskarian multilevel notion of negation, I deconstruct these messages as a real negation, tacit and unconscious, but powerfully determines the process of replacing visible white supremacy of outright Nazi racism by invisible whiteness of liberal racism which accompanies the Czech-Romani relationship since the interwar period until nowadays. In order to map the options for elaborating transformative and radical negations of whiteness as a key pillar of segregation against the Romani people, I trace the interconnection between two master narratives shaping the Czech concept of whiteness, the negation of germanness, and racial suspicion against the Romani as the treat to health of the nation. The long-term tradition of academic communities and public to legitimize the surveillance under the Romani people by opposing the Czech, humanistic, approach to German (either imperial or Nazi) inhuman arbitrariness is explored in terms of historical continuities between the interwar, the Protectorate, and socialist periods. This historical intervention introduces the new frames for the spaces of memory with particular focus on the reflections of diverse practices of surveillance under the Romani people as cross-cutting theme for disclosing whiteness.
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